BUILDING BETTER: Ian Oelrichs and Sarah Aldridge of the Design Advisory Panel.
BUILDING BETTER: Ian Oelrichs and Sarah Aldridge of the Design Advisory Panel. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Byron’s image is at stake, says president of panel

BYRON Bay's built environment is dying a "death of a thousand cuts", and local councils should be investing in urban design advice, according to the president of the Design Advisory Panel (Northern Rivers), Ian Oelrichs.

The Design Advisory Panel - a volunteer group of industry professionals including architects, engineers, landscape architects and urban planners - consults pro-bono with communities and councils on strategies to enhance and improve the built environment.

"There is no leadership on what the built character of Byron Bay is," Mr Oelrichs said. "Without this we end up with a blanc mange of piece-meal development and you lose the character of the place."

And what exactly is Byron Bay's character?

"It is a lively, eclectic, sub-tropical coastal tourist town and its built environment reflects this. It has a beautiful, eclectic, ratbag cohesiveness," Mr Oelrichs said.

Fellow DAP member, architect Sarah Aldridge, agreed that Byron needed to lift its game with regard to its built environment.

"Building awareness of our built environment enables the community to understand what is special to them and we can then help to develop strategies to protect what is good and improve what isn't good." DAP has recently consulted for Bangalow and Suffolk Park communities.

Good design examples

Byron St, Bangalow: "Eclectic, higgledy-piggledy and eccentric."

Drill Hall Theatre, Mullumbimby: "Good example of reuse of a building. Unpretentious and 'very Mullum'."

Troppo building, Bay St: "Thoughtful, modern, classic, gentle. Fits well in its environment."



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